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Report
La Plata’s
Municipal
Wireless
Network
A (Somewhat) Technical Overview of Network Components
Charles County Tech Council
February 22, 2011
WiFi Project History
La Plata WiFi History
A simple idea
• Town Council Service Priority
•Wi-fi system in Town.
• Charles County Public Library Sought
Innovation Grant
•In December 2008 Emily Ferren (CCPL Director) met
with Town staff to seek support in grant application to
expand library information access in La Plata
•Town had budgeted $50,000 to begin WiFi
•Partnership between La Plata, CCPL, and Civista to
apply for the Public Library Innovation Grant from ICMA
and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
La Plata WiFi History
Grant application started collaboration
• Innovation Grant was to provide a small
wireless network around the library, hospital,
and north toward the Phoenix Run
neighborhood
• The three partners would develop a portal
to access library, health, and civic
information
• Town funds would have been used as a
match – however application was
unsuccessful
La Plata WiFi History
Partnership began
• Summer 2009 had disappointment in not
receiving the grant but realization WiFi was
possible
• Grant application had the elements of a
broader public system
• Began discussions of how a MOU could be
developed between the Town and Library
• Web survey had 73% support for downtown
WiFi – 56% was strongly supportive
La Plata WiFi History
Council Support
• October 2009 Emily Ferren outlined
partnership to Town Council
•Library provides technical experience, in kind labor from
existing staff, and houses the drop
•Town provides funding for equipment, installation, and,
connectivity costs
•Community would need to provide locations for nodes
• Town Council indicated its support
La Plata WiFi History
Implementation
• Completion of Memorandum of
Understanding between Town and Library
completed in February 2010
• Developed a Node Location Agreement for
partners to house nodes at no cost to Town
or library
• Designed initial system using Town owned
structures and other partners
• First plan of deployment was delayed
La Plata WiFi History
Implementation – Phase I
• In Summer 2010 with the first try unable to
succeed - began a scaled back plan
• September yielded the first four nodes
•Library Roof
•Civista Roof
•Facchina Roof – 2 nodes
• System went online, quietly, Sept. 10, 2010
• Users began finding the system that day
• 35 unique users found the system the first
weekend
WiFi Implementation
What it looks like
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase I
• MR-58 units used on Library,
Civista, and Facchina
• Additional small Outdoor
unit installed on Facchina
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase I
Library Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase I
Library Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase I
Library Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase I
Civista Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase I
Civista Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase I
Civista Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase I
Facchina
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase I
Facchina
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase I
Facchina
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase I
Facchina
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase I
• Connectivity was generally between the
Library and Dash In on Charles Street
• Also from 301 to Greene Turtle along
Centennial
• Nodes could communicate from Facchina
to Civista but wireless device antennas
don’t have enough power for the range
• An Android phone could get signal beyond
Greene Turtle, but an IPhone had to be in
front of the restaurant
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
• Successful launch led to scouting locations
for Phase II
• Fall 2010 spent scouting, making contact,
and confirming locations for next phase
• Goal was to provide continuous coverage
across downtown, and connect to Town
Hall
• All MR-58 units would be used to ensure a
healthy backbone for future expansion
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
105 Centennial
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
105 Centennial
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
105 Centennial
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
Old Firehouse
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
Town Hall
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
Town Hall
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
Town Hall
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
Kelly on
Centennial
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
Kelly on
Washington
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
Kelly on
Washington
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
PNC Bank
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
PNC Bank
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
PNC Bank
Roof
La Plata WiFi
Implementation – Phase II
Port Tobacco
Players Roof
The Tech
La Plata Municipal Wireless
Network Management, Maintenance, and Monitoring
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Equipment Overview (Show and Tell)
Architecture and Layout
Filtering
Meraki Dashboard
Content Delivery
Possible Avenues of Growth
The Meraki MR58
Technical Specifications
• Weight: 3.8 lb (1.7 kg)
• 10” x 10” x 3” not including mount
• Power consumption: 12.8 W max; 7.5 W
typical
• Three 802.11 a/b/g/n radios
• Auto-selection of optimal 2.4 GHz or 5
GHz frequencies
• Max radio rate 300 mbit/s per radio
• Connect, transmit, and receive on all
three radios
• 2.4 GHz 22 dBm peak transmission power
• 5 GHz 21 dBm peak transmission power
• 1 year hardware warranty included
• Power over Ethernet: 802.3af compatible
About Meraki: Meraki is based in San Francisco, California, and is a privately held
company backed in part by Google and Sequoia Capital. Every day, over 17,000
organizations in 140+ countries around the world rely on Meraki for their networks.
Architecture and Layout
• Backbone connection located at La Plata
Library - bonded T1 lines.
• 3 Mb/s upgradeable to 9 Mb/s
• All traffic must travel from nearest MR58,
through mesh network to Library
• 13 access points spread throughout town
• Each access point has numerous paths to
library wired connection
• Access point installation requires only nonpenetrating roof mount and POE
Current Access Point Map
Filtering
• Library has configured filtering using
OpenDNS
• Web filtering with more than 50 categories
of content. No appliance necessary.
Effective against proxies, P2P, Web 2.0, adult
and more.
• Configuration is similar to that found in the
public library branches
• OpenDNS Basic account is free
Meraki Dashboard
Dashboard is the interface to the Meraki Cloud
Controller.
The Meraki Cloud Controller provides:
• Centralized management of your wireless networks
• Remote monitoring and troubleshooting
• Continuous optimization of network performance
Network Summary Page
Content Delivery System
• Library
▫
▫
▫
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Online Storytime
Podcasted Book Talks/Reviews
Digital Collections
Public Computing Centers
• Town of La Plata
▫ eGovernment
▫ Town Forms/Applications
▫ Mapping/GIS
Possible Avenues
for Growth
Avenues for Growth
• Network Expansion
• Provide service to more of downtown
• Expand to additional business areas
• Cover additional public spaces and parks
• Go where people congregate or where they could be
• Communicate presence to residents and visitors
• Service Based Expansion
• Library Services
• Municipal Services
• Emergency Services
• Economic Development
Network Expansion
Downtown
Network Expansion
Additional Business Areas
Network Expansion
Public Spaces
Service Based Expansion
Library
Kiosk
Service Based Expansion
Device Lending
Service Based Expansion
Municipal Security
Service Based Expansion
Emergency Services
Service Based Expansion
Utility Services
Service Based Expansion
Wastewater Treatment
Service Based Expansion
Water Meter Reading
Avenues for Growth
• Partnerships
• Emergency Services
• County Government
• Schools
• Local Businesses
• Non – Profits
• Medical and Social Services
• New Uses
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Mobile Offices
Tourism Information
Economic Development
Youth Activities
• What ideas do you have?
Avenues for Growth
• Municipal Wi-Fi brings:
• An opportunity for creativity
• An opportunity for partnership
• An opportunity for investment
• An opportunity for lifestyle
• An opportunity for business
Special Thanks:
Ed Kelly

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